Background and importance Recent results showed that most European citizens want the European Union (EU) to provide more financial support to overcome the impact of the pandemic. Public health tops the priority list followed by economic recovery. Findings revealed that more than 75% of Europeans on average have heard about the measures taken by the EU against COVID-19 and a rising number of respondents are now satisfied with these measures. Simultaneously, a majority is nevertheless still not satisfied with the solidarity shown among EU member states during the crisis. What is the opinion of a non-EU country?
Aim and objectives To explore and evaluate the national perception of a non-member state about the EU response to the COVID-19 pandemic, EU competences and budget, satisfaction with EU measures, solidarity among member and non-member states and personal circumstances and financial consequences of COVID-19. A survey was conducted (August–September 2020) in 164 randomly selected participants, aged 18–64 years.
Material and methods The questionnaire consisted of eight adapted questions from the European Parliament specific survey ‘Public opinion in the EU in time of coronavirus crisis 2’. The interviews were conducted by telephone.
Results Around 63% of respondents had heard that the EU proposed various measures to fight the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, but more than half (57%) did not know what they were. Of those who were familiar with them, 40% reported satisfaction. Most respondents (72%) were not satisfied with the solidarity among EU and non-EU member states. Asked about the policy fields where this enlarged budget should be spent, public health was a priority (65%), followed by economic recovery and new opportunities for businesses (53%), and employment and social affairs (41%). A clear majority (79%) supported a larger budget to fight COVID-19. 75% of respondents reported experiencing personal financial difficulties. The feelings that best described their current emotional state were uncertainty (63%), helplessness (32%), fear (23%), hope (43%) and confidence (28%).
Conclusion and relevance Public opinion in the time of COVID-19 did not differ significantly from the opinion of European citizens. However, most respondents were not satisfied with the solidarity among EU and non-EU member states. Personal financial difficulties remain significant.
Conflict of interest No conflict of interest
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